Panasonic has developed a robot to harvest tomatoes, starting field tests with an eye toward eventual commercialization.
A miniature camera that captures more than 70,000 pixels is combined with an image sensor to identify ripe tomatoes by color. The robot picks them by the stem to avoid bruising and can work at times when humans are unavailable, such as at night.
Panasonic has been applying its sensors and other technologies in the agricultural sector. It is making the jump to robotic farming at a time when Japanese farmers face a graying and shrinking workforce. The company is also considering using the machines at its own plant factories.